Still, glorious though Anno 2205's cityscapes may be, a game that justifies the banality of numerical mechanics through visual sensation alone is inevitably one that provokes the question of whether or not it needed to exist at all. From this respect, Anno 2205 might have more in common with Photoshop or Illustrator than with its predecessors; for me, its most compelling purpose wasn't doing something, but making something. Whether or not that makes for a fulfilling experience is an open question; that Anno 2205 could be so much more is not.
Beyond Earth grasps its topic less firmly, but more fully, insisting that whatever future comes to pass won't be the only future that might have been. Truth be told, though, Beyond Earth likely won't have quite the staying power of either Alpha Centauri or Civilization V.